Another paper in the series looks at how the Gene Ontology has been used to classify the function of genes in Escherichia coli, an organism that has long been the workhorse of the molecular biology laboratory. Gene Ontology terms are particularly well suited for classifying the similarities and differences in the function of gene products in E.coli as compared to their counterparts in other organisms. As the authors emphasize, linking other resources to Gene Ontology terms will also open up exciting new opportunities for biologists to explore gene function in the years ahead.
Four of the papers in the special issue look at how Gene Ontology can be used to dissect the complex interactions involved when pathogens invade their hosts and lead to disease. They include descriptions of bacterial effector proteins, virulence factors, effector protein delivery systems, and infection by filamentous pathogens. Joo Setubal, Associate Professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, remarked: "Symbiotic microbes have developed many ingenious ways to deliver effector molecules into their hosts to facilitate colonization. The biology behind this invasion of the host cell is rich and diverse and Gene Ontology terms help to reveal common themes in the delivery of effector molecules by different microbes. Our understanding of the key steps in host-microbe interactions will be considerably enhanced by the further widespread use of Gene Ontology terms, which should in turn generate proposals for more terms."
Another review reveals how terms created by the PAMGO Consortium have been used to assess the function of genes in Candida albicans, a type of yeast that can lead to disease in humans. The characterization of genes in C. albicans has also benefited from the transfer of Gene Ontology terms from the extensively studied yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. S. cerevisiae is another workho
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